I invoke the name of Joseph Campbell quite often in my writings, and with good reason. He was the primary inspiration behind my creation of Live The Hero. Mr. Campbell (or Joe, as I like to call him) is my main source for the life philosophy I’ve collated together from various sources.
Campbell was a professor who focused on comparative mythology and religion. He would eventually create the concept of the monomyth, to encompass his theory that all mythic heroic narratives are echoes of one great story. His work is the foundation for the practical philosophy I set out to define, in order to give myself and others a system for approaching life with enthusiasm, purpose, and resilience.
If I haven’t encouraged you enough to read up on Joe, I’m doing so now! My purpose with Live The Hero is to break down the hero’s journey into digestible parts, and create a means of making it accessible, understandable, and implementable for a broad range of people. I want folks of all walks of life to benefit from the lessons laid out in Campbell’s creation.
How To Explore Joe’s Work
If you want to explore Campbell’s ideas directly, a good place to start is The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In this work, he describes the hero’s journey concept in detail, and includes examples from the mythology of various cultures. Just a note: the book may seem a bit scholarly and heavy reading for some tastes.
If you want a more “layman’s” introduction to the hero’s journey, you can read The Power of Myth. This is an interview with Campbell conducted by journalist Bill Moyers. If you’d rather watch the interview, you can always check out the series that aired on PBS in 1988 (the year after Joe passed away at the age of 83).
Here’s the trailer for Finding Joe:
Why You Should Study Joe
Joe reminded our modern world that ancient myth was created for the purpose of illuminating the human condition. Our legends are a study of what it means to be a part of our species. Myths challenge us to strive to be more.
We have always—and will always—create stories of our joy and pain, our triumphs and failures. Joe also reminded us that we’re still creating myths today. It’s not by chance that our popular culture is rife with heroes.
Your life is a story you create with your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. You just need to remember that you are the author, and you can write your own story. Don’t let anyone else write it for you!
Think of your favorite novels, shows, or movies. They probably include a mix of drama, humor, sadness, happiness, and a good dose of action. Would you enjoy them if they didn’t have all of those aspects? Probably not. Now, think about your life in the same way. The ups and downs of our existence are all part of the adventure.
What sort of story do you want your life to be? Decide on what you want, and take action to make it happen, just like the heroes in your favorite stories. Joe would be proud of you!
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